Left alone, Geoffrey lit his pipe and sent for the landlord.
“Get me a boat. I shall scull myself up the river for an hour or two. And put in some towels. I may take a swim.”
The landlord received the order—with a caution addressed to his illustrious guest.
“Don’t show yourself in front of the house, Sir! If you let the people see you, they’re in such a state of excitement, the police won’t answer for keeping them in order.”
“All right. I’ll go out by the back way.”
He took a turn up and down the room. What were the difficulties to be overcome before he could profit by the golden prospect which his brother had offered to him? The Sports? No! The committee had promised to defer the day, if he wished it—and a month’s training, in his physical condition, would be amply enough for him. Had he any personal objection to trying his luck with Mrs. Glenarm? Not he! Any woman would do—provided his father was satisfied, and the money was all right. The obstacle which was really in his way was the obstacle of the woman whom he had ruined. Anne! The one insuperable difficulty was the difficulty of dealing with Anne.
“We’ll see how it looks,” he said to himself, “after a pull up the river!”
The landlord and the police inspector smuggled him out by the back way unknown to the expectant populace in front The two men stood on the river-bank admiring him, as he pulled away from them, with his long, powerful, easy, beautiful stroke.
“That’s what I call the pride and flower of England!” said the inspector. “Has the betting on him begun?”
“Six to four,” said the landlord, “and no takers.”
Julius went early to the station that night. His mother was very anxious. “Don’t let Geoffrey find an excuse in your example,” she said, “if he is late.”
The first person whom Julius saw on getting out of the carriage was Geoffrey—with his ticket taken, and his portmanteau in charge of the guard.
CHAPTER THE SEVENTEENTH
THE Library at Windygates was the largest and the handsomest room in the house. The two grand divisions under which Literature is usually arranged in these days occupied the customary places in it. On the shelves which ran round the walls were the books which humanity in general respects—and does not read. On the tables distributed over the floor were the books which humanity in general reads—and does not respect. In the first class, the works of the wise ancients; and the Histories, Biographies, and Essays of writers of more modern times—otherwise the Solid Literature, which is universally respected, and occasionally read. In the second class, the Novels of our own day—otherwise the Light Literature, which is universally read, and occasionally